Fired Prep School Teacher Faces Sentencing for Pornography
Jan. 11, 1993
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) _ A longtime teacher at Phillips Exeter Academy, convicted of child pornography charges, once called the X-rated pictures found in his home only a minor part of his life.
Now jobless and disgraced, Lane Bateman faces the prospect of a major prison term when he is sentenced in federal court.
Prosecutors called a postal inspector as a witness when Bateman's sentencing hearing began late this morning.
Judge Jose Antonio Fuste indicated he wanted to review at least some of the hundreds of videotapes seized from Bateman and officials said more witnesses might be called, making a lengthy hearing possible.
While the maximum he could receive is 25 years, Assistant U.S. Attorney Arnold Huftalen plans to ask for 11 years.
Bateman's attorney, Mark Sullivan, says even that's too much. He says the prestigious prep school's reputation has earned the case more attention than it deserves.
''If you look at similar cases, guys get a year in jail,'' said Sullivan, who believes Bateman should serve no more than two years. ''The government has treated this like it's the case of the century.''
Bateman, 51, has expressed similar sentiments. He told reporters during his trial that pornography had ''always been one of the tiniest, quietest parts of my life. If no one knows about it, who cares?
''In the long run, if they put me in jail for a long time, what have they accomplished?''
That attitude has encouraged prosecutors to seek a stiff sentence.
''The man has no shame,'' Huftalen wrote to the judge. ''(Bateman) apparently believes that ... sex with little boys is fine, as long as the children smile and seem to enjoy it.''
Acting on a tip from a man who said he was Bateman's former lover, police raided Bateman's campus apartment in July and confiscated 800 videotapes, 300 of which Bateman later acknowledged as pornographic. There also were picture books and video equipment.
Fired the next day, he was convicted in October on two counts of mailing child pornography across state lines and one count of possessing child pornography.
The charges shocked officials and students at the 200-year-old school whose many well-known alumni include U.S. Sens. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Judd Gregg of New Hampshire.
Feelings on the campus, 45 miles north of Boston, were mixed as Bateman's sentencing approached, school spokesman David Johnson said Friday.
''There definitely is a feeling of looking forward to getting it over with, but at the same time there's still the reality of the sadness and anger of those who knew Mr. Bateman and respected him as a teacher,'' Johnson said.
''They feel angry and somewhat betrayed,'' he said.
However, the effect on the school itself has been negligible, he said. One boy set to enroll last fall withdrew because of the case, but applications are at the same level as last year, he said.
At a school assembly last week, Principal Kendra O'Donnell gave students details about Huftalen's sentencing recommendation and some of its shocking details. She said any intimate relationship between a faculty member and a student is wrong, and called Bateman's behavior inexcusable.
In his recommendation, filed Dec. 30, Huftalen detailed Bateman's crimes, and, for the first time, disclosed that Bateman had used a zoom lens to secretly videotape male students.
The boys were ''either wearing undershorts, towels or nothing'' and were not aware they were being filmed, according to the filing.
The government also accused Bateman of creating a ''master videotape'' of more than 40 videotapes students had submitted to Bateman for grades.
''The majority of these 'student tapes' are videos made by students, of students engaged in certain sexually explicit or simulated sexually explicit conduct,'' the filing says.
Michael Caven, who led police to Bateman, says he has no regrets about turning his former teacher in to authorities.
Caven, now 29 and living in Ohio, was a student of Bateman's when both lived on New York's Long Island. He testified at the trial that Bateman exploited him sexually and mentally from the time he was 16.
He acknowleged a history of drug and alcohol abuse and had his credibility questioned by defense attorneys.
He said seeing Bateman brought to justice made it worthwhile.
''When I began therapy in March 1991, I came to see I had been terribly exploited when I was a teen-ager,'' he said. ''Precious power had been taken away from me. This is part of taking my power back.''